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Birds of Prey dvd...some thoughts.


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51 replies to this topic

#21 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 16 2008 - 05:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankPitt
the picture quality is pretty good and once I got used to the aspect ratio/window boxed image, things looked great
Don't you have any way to adjust your settings?
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#22 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 16 2008 - 05:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Battista
I haven't had the chance to check the set out yet... but I must say... I do love the packaging! Posted Image
I thought the same of the packaging. When you get time, please share your thoughts on the set. As I've said, I love it and feel that any flaws of the set are more than made up for by it's quality. It is sooo cool to finally have this release. Thank You Warner!
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#23 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 16 2008 - 05:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Thanks for the clarification on the packaging! From the OP's description I got the impression the package was similar to that of B5 or Sliders S4. I'm a happy camper now! Posted Image
Sorry for any confusion. The last thing I wanted to do was turn somebody off to this release. Posted Image
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#24 of 52 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted July 16 2008 - 07:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
I thought the same of the packaging. When you get time, please share your thoughts on the set. As I've said, I love it and feel that any flaws of the set are more than made up for by it's quality. It is sooo cool to finally have this release. Thank You Warner!

I just got the chance to watch the pilot episode. I enjoyed every second of it! Though I do have to admit... it wasn't quite as good as I had remembered... but definitely still remains a favorite show of mine.

I have no complaints what so ever quality wise. The anamorphic issue was a non-issue for me at this point since I still have a standard 4:3 TV. The theme music used on the set really don't fit the series... and I can see how that would put people off... but I personally will just skip the theme anyway... I usually do.

So over-all so far I am thrilled with the set! Love finally having this series in my collection after 6 long years of waiting for it! Posted Image

#25 of 52 OFFLINE   FrankPitt

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Posted July 16 2008 - 07:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Don't you have any way to adjust your settings?

I can zoom in, but with my player, once I do that, a blue box with an image of a magnifying glass reading "2X" pops up and can't be gotten rid of (at least not in any way I've been able to figure out).

#26 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 16 2008 - 01:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankPitt
I can zoom in, but with my player, once I do that, a blue box with an image of a magnifying glass reading "2X" pops up and can't be gotten rid of (at least not in any way I've been able to figure out).
How about the tv itself. Sometimes if you put a widescreen tv in 480p output(since resolution on sd gets no better than this anyway) you can use the tvs zoom feature. On the player settings for video do you have a selection for wide and full. If so try full.
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#27 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 16 2008 - 01:45 PM

Hey everyone, Gord's got his review for the series up at tvshowsondvd.com. If you want the low down on this release that's your best bet.
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#28 of 52 OFFLINE   Jonathan W

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Posted July 18 2008 - 11:16 PM

While I appreciate the spirit of Troy's review, I wouldn't so readily dismiss the elements that undercut this DVD release. The anamorphic issue is considerable but the more I read about the music, I get truly depressed.

I didn't watch Birds of Prey when it was first aired, but the fans are making it clear that the music fit the show perfectly. Aimee Mann's "Revolution" gave the show a harder edge that separates it from Smallville, and the final episode's use of TATU's song, "All The Things She Said," appears to have had a crucial impact on those who first watched the show. I think that fans can buy this set and be reasonably shocked that such artfully placed elements were changed -- apparently without concern for artistic intent. Wouldn't Hitchcock's PSYCHO be different without Bernard Hermann's score? Or, going more lowbrow, wouldn't Rocky III lose something important if they exchanged "Eye of the Tiger" with Celine Dion? I am sympathetic with viewers who value the soundtrack and its relationship with the visuals.

I can't ignore the oddness of WB presenting the unaired pilot in anamorphic enhancement while the rest of the series is not enhanced -- especially considering that anamorphic DVDs were hitting the market when this show was being shot -- in widescreen. I'm sure there's an excuse. The tragedy is, everybody has their reasons.

I bought the set. I'm enjoying it. Do I want to know why Warner's made what appears to be several bad and cheap decisions? Certainly, and this appears to be the appropriate forum for investigation.

#29 of 52 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 19 2008 - 04:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
I'm sure there's an excuse.
Yeah and Gord gave it back in post #10.

#30 of 52 OFFLINE   LizH

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Posted July 19 2008 - 04:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
I can't ignore the oddness of WB presenting the unaired pilot in anamorphic enhancement while the rest of the series is not enhanced -- especially considering that anamorphic DVDs were hitting the market when this show was being shot -- in widescreen. I'm sure there's an excuse. The tragedy is, everybody has their reasons.


***cough*** Cheap Network ***cough***


Quote:
I bought the set. I'm enjoying it. Do I want to know why Warner's made what appears to be several bad and cheap decisions? Certainly, and this appears to be the appropriate forum for investigation.


The show was first produced in 2002, back when TV-on-DVD was just getting started.

At the time, Warner wasn't thinking in terms of DVD sales. Back then, releasing a cancelled show to DVD was almost unheard of ("Firefly" was probably the first.)


Who knows, maybe we'll get a "Special Edition" set with a restored "Revolution". Posted Image

#31 of 52 OFFLINE   Bill GrandPre

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Posted July 19 2008 - 05:29 PM

Quote:
At the time, Warner wasn't thinking in terms of DVD sales. Back then, releasing a cancelled show to DVD was almost unheard of ("Firefly" was probably the first.)

"Firefly" wasn't the first such release by a longshot. Off the top of my head I know "Clerks' predates the "Firefly" release by two and a half years, I'm sure there are many others.

The whole "TV on DVD" boom really started in 2000 when Fox released the complete first season of "The X-Files".

Ultimately, television is shot in this aspect ratio to fit 16x9 televisions and music licensing was definitely on the studio's radar in 2002. This isn't a show I'm interested in but it's definitely a case where I look at it and go "thank God this isn't something I was waiting for" because there's no excuse for this. Warner Bros. could have released this with 16x9 transfers and intact music but they took the cheap and easy way out and there's really no excuse for it.

It's not just Warner Bros. though. Paramount/Comedy Central recently released "Human Giant" Season 1 and "South Park: Imaginationland" a week apart, both with non-anamorphic widescreen transfers.
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#32 of 52 OFFLINE   LizH

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Posted July 19 2008 - 06:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill GrandPre
"Firefly" wasn't the first such release by a longshot. Off the top of my head I know "Clerks' predates the "Firefly" release by two and a half years, I'm sure there are many others.


True, you had these little limited-run releases back then ("My So-Called Life", "Sports Night", "Clerks", etc.)

At the same time, it wasn't standard operating procedure back then the way it is now. Nobody was thinking in terms of DVD releases for cancelled shows (It took the success of "Firefly" to really get the ball rolling.)

#33 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 19 2008 - 06:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill GrandPre
Ultimately, television is shot in this aspect ratio to fit 16x9 televisions and music licensing was definitely on the studio's radar in 2002. This isn't a show I'm interested in but it's definitely a case where I look at it and go "thank God this isn't something I was waiting for" because there's no excuse for this. Warner Bros. could have released this with 16x9 transfers and intact music but they took the cheap and easy way out and there's really no excuse for it.
How do you know? We have Gord who is in direct contact with the studio about this relaying that this is, in fact, the best source material available for this release. Gord's been doing this for a long time now, so I'm sure he covered all the angles in his information. One day, perhaps they may find better source material. That day is not today, however. This show will never be released again most likely. Music rights plague just about all tv shows on dvd. That's the way it is and you can blame legal representatives for that not studios. If this show had not been cancelled and put away and, like with Smallville, they saw the likelyhood of a future dvd release then things may have turned out differently. That just didn't happen though, so, we got the best they had. It really isn't that unbelievable. I'm not sure why some are so convinced Warner tried to be cheap and screw the fans over. So basically some believe Warner said....."Hey let's release Birds of Prey on dvd. We'll pay some designers to give it a nice package, put disc art on the dvds and we'll even include the unaired pilot and Gotham Girls shorts as a bonus. You know what else? Let's do some cool menues with the comic book page feel to them. Okay. So do we use the 16:9 prints we have? NO! Let's search high and low to dig up some non anamorphic prints for this. Okay. Remember, the last thing we want to do is spend money"..... I'm sorry, but that just doesn't make sense to me.
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#34 of 52 OFFLINE   Jonathan W

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Posted July 21 2008 - 08:55 AM

I've read Gord's contribution to this thread, but I ask -- is his word the pure gospel on this subject? TravisR strongly feels so.

I disagree.

In fact, what Gord wrote was that he "was told they used the best masters they had available.... [A]pparently they don't have Anamorphic masters that can be used." Gord refers to they at Warner Brothers -- no names, no individuals taking credit for the hard work "search[ing] high and low for the material." TravisR's slavish devotion to Gord's explanation as the "official" Warner Brothers position isn't enough to satisfy my curiosity as to why Warner's has an Anamorphic unused Pilot included on the disk. In fact, nowhere on the disk packaging do they even indicate that what was available was substandard by today's practices. B-Movies from the 60s get Anamorphic releases, and I'm sure those original filmmakers did not anticipate the day of Anamorphic processing for quality DVDs. But this retail price of $39.98 -- more than half the price of a full Anamorphic release of Witchblade: The Entire Series (including the 2001 movie) -- would suggest that Warners is giving us top quality product.

This "don't worry-be happy" attitude is what allowed Universal to drop significantly in the quality of their DVD releases. Once a standard-bearer, Universal shamed itself with the use of inferior DVD-18s, pressings which have flooded this forum with petitions. Many television shows on DVD have packaging that lets the buyer know that what they see might be shocking in its quality -- that the masters available were the best they could find but less than optimal. Gord's unofficial disclosure is a far cry from that type of fair warning. No fault of Gord's -- Warners is guilty by omission.

I have nothing against TravisR, but I am insulted by this mind set that Gord (who, to my knowledge, is not an official spokesman for Warners) is the key justifier for their incomplete and shoddy product, and that no further explanation is necessary. I write this not as someone asking for my money back, or even as someone who doesn't appreciate Warner Brothers' awkward situation having to decide to forego what has become, by now, an expected practice by a major studio releasing one of their own New Millennium franchises on DVD. "Anamorphic" was an "extra" feature a few years ago. It isn't anymore.

And Gord did nothing to explain why Warners was so clumsy in their replacing of original songs from the series. So, while I respect Gord and am grateful for the service he provides us, that doesn't mean he alone can let Warner Brothers off the hook.

#35 of 52 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted July 21 2008 - 07:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
I've read Gord's contribution to this thread, but I ask -- is his word the pure gospel on this subject?
Pretty much, Yes. He's earned the respect he's been given by a good many of us on this forum. His record speaks for itself as far as insider information. I can think of no time where he misrepresented facts. He only puts forth what studios tell him and if he does relay incorrect info from a studio he's quik to relay it back. However Jonathan W, since you disagree with the facts he's given us perhaps you could provide a few of your own. Tell us what your inside sources tell you in regards to the Birds of Prey dvd set? We're all waiting........
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#36 of 52 OFFLINE   Jonathan W

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Posted July 21 2008 - 09:13 PM

My sources say that the packaging should let us know that optimal prints weren't available.

Gord hasn't said anything about the music.

More to the point, Troy -- I'm not attacking Gord. I'm criticizing Warner Brothers, the company charging $39.98 for a DVD set and letting a lone voice explain major product deficits on this forum.

Perhaps you took my "don't worry-be happy" comment personally.

#37 of 52 OFFLINE   LizH

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Posted July 21 2008 - 10:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
In fact, nowhere on the disk packaging do they even indicate that what was available was substandard by today's practices. B-Movies from the 60s get Anamorphic releases, and I'm sure those original filmmakers did not anticipate the day of Anamorphic processing for quality DVDs.


It helps to just keep saying to yourself, "Cheap Network" ... "Cheap Network" ... "Cheap Network." Posted Image

#38 of 52 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 22 2008 - 04:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
TravisR's slavish devotion to Gord's explanation as the "official" Warner Brothers position isn't enough to satisfy my curiosity as to why Warner's has an Anamorphic unused Pilot included on the disk.
Slavish devotion? You said that you're sure there's an excuse and I pointed out that Gord gave a reason for the problem so I don't think that qualifies as 'slavish devotion'.

Gord has actually talked to the studio and that's the reason they gave him. Maybe it's the truth, maybe it's a lie but the info that Gord got directly from the studio holds alot more weight with me than someone just dreaming up a conspiracy theory and posting it on a message board.

#39 of 52 OFFLINE   Bill GrandPre

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Posted July 22 2008 - 05:37 AM

I don't doubt that the statement Gord was given from Warner Bros. is legitimate. I'm not saying he's wrong. I'm saying that their statement is simply unbelievable. Like I said, this show exists in this aspect ratio to be seen on 16x9 televisions. I know "The X-Files" and "Millennium" made this change in the '97-'98 season. The industry knew it was coming and started making the changes long before "Birds of Prey" aired.

I don't know, it's possible that the show may have been FILMED for 16x9 but the 16x9 transfers were never made. It's true that the fact that something is filmed in a 16x9-friendly aspect ratio doesn't guarantee that an anamorphic transfer exists (as any movie/DVD fan knows) but I don't find their "these transfers are the best we have!" argument for one bit because if what you have is unacceptable then you spend the money to bring it up to an acceptable level, and releasing non-anamorphic product in this day and age is unacceptable, period.
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#40 of 52 OFFLINE   Gord Lacey

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Posted July 22 2008 - 05:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan W
I've read Gord's contribution to this thread, but I ask -- is his word the pure gospel on this subject? TravisR strongly feels so.

I disagree.

I agree with your disagreement. Nothing I say here, or elsewhere, should be taken as gospel, unless I'm talking about myself Posted Image I just tried to pass along some information I had access to; people are free to believe it or not.

I spoke to the marketing person working on the set multiple times, both when the set was initially announced, and since then, asking why it's not anamorphic. We posted a number of news items addressing the issue:

Birds of Prey DVD news: Box Art & Release Date Change for Birds of Prey - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com
Birds of Prey DVD news: Update for Birds of Prey - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com

And the "Standard Version" is visible on the rear artwork we posted:
Birds of Prey DVD news: Rear Box Art for Birds of Prey - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com

And of course it's also on the back of the package. Warner wasn't hiding the format of the picture, and I think we did a good job addressing it on the site. The person I spoke to is the marketing person on the title, but their job isn't to locate the masters for the releases, that's someone else's job. I can't comment on whether it's possible to make an anamorphic release out of non-anamorphic masters because I don't know how any of that is done, or what the cost is.

As for the music being replaced, it's mentioned on the packaging. Warner Bros didn't have the budget for the release to license the original music; this is why the show hadn't been released until now.

Gord
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